Postponed European pool matches to be cancelled

Edinburgh face anxious wait to find out if they will play in the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup or in the second-tier Challenge Cup

Edinburgh picked up an impressive win away at Sale Sharks in the Champions Cup in December. Image: © Craig Watson -
Edinburgh picked up an impressive win away at Sale Sharks in the Champions Cup in December. Image: © Craig Watson -

EDINBURGH appear set to for a tilt at glory in either the Champions Cup or the second-tier Challenge Cup, while Glasgow Warriors will be stuck at home kicking their heels, when European club rugby finally emerges from its Covid induced hibernation.

Premiership Rugby’s chief executive Darren Childs has told the BBC that the final two rounds of European pool matches, which were postponed earlier this week due to French concerns about the spread of Covid, will not be rearranged. Instead, the Champions and Challenge Cups will go straight to knockout formats with the make-up based on pool rankings after the first two rounds.

“The decision was made by the EPCR executive,” said Childs. “The reason we can’t reschedule those [postponed games] is that there are no available weekends. Our season is now full right until our final.

“It was decided very quickly by all three leagues [Premiership, Top 14 and Pro14] that we would complete the [European] tournaments in the last four weekends [in April and May].”

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The plan at the start of the campaign was for the top four teams in each Champions Cup pool to progress to the quarter-finals of that competition, while the teams ranked fifth to eighth were to drop into the last 16 of the Challenge Cup. However, it is understood that discussions have taken place about the possibility of the top eight teams in each Champions Cup pool progressing to a 16-team knock-out stage (with the extra round of matches being accommodated by the quarter-finals being played over one leg instead of two).

The second of these options would suit Edinburgh, who are currently sixth in Pool A of the Champions Cup.

Meanwhile, Glasgow lost their first Champions Cup pool match 42-0 away to Exeter, and a Covid exposure in that game  forced the club to forfeit their second match at home to Lyon, leaving them stranded at the bottom of Pool B. So their European season appears to be over.

The remaining matches will be played on the two weekends reserved for European games in April, and another weekend set aside in early May, before the finals weekend scheduled for the 22nd May in Marseille.

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About David Barnes 3913 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. The competition was already a bit of a farce following the Glasgow/ Toulon situation. Play a team with Covid, lose 28-0 next week; refuse to play, lose 28-0 that week.

    I’m sure we’ll all be glad of some rugby in spring, but the selection of teams will seem very arbitrary.

    • It is unfair but this is commercial rugby. They are not interested in fair…If it was fair Exeter would be the ones punished and not Glasgow.

      But Glasgow are not the darlings of European rugby at the moment. Exeter are…

  2. Just award the teams meant to be playing English sides 28-0 bonus point wins and carry on with the pool stages i say, teach them a lesson.


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